It's no surprise by now, I am sure, that I am a feminist at heart. If you could see the stacks upon stacks of books I have checked out from that section at the library over the past month and a half, you would be surprised (hint: I have about checked out all that my home library has to offer, and may have to start going into downtown for more). Equality is important to me, even as I think about how to divide chores equally but in a way that ensures neither of us is having to do our least favorite tasks all the time.
After I put up my post on Friday, a friend of mine, knowing that I think a lot about equality in general as well as in my relationship, asked about my wedding ceremony and the symbolism that appears in many traditional ceremonies. I will admit, the questions she posed made me stop and think, because it included a few things I hadn't considered, such as walking to my fiance down an aisle, but at the same time, it addressed something I have been working on since we started thinking about our ceremony.
Without giving away too much about our ceremony (we want to keep it a surprise for our guests), I wanted to talk a little bit about what we have going on in the ceremony to make it a bit more equal, especially since it's all but finished at this point in time. I had a lot of fun assembling our wedding ceremony using ideas from weddings both traditional and indie, and worked hard with The Boy to put together a ceremony that truly represented us. This included making it interfaith but secular, and ensuring that we put our own spin on much of the traditional symbolism.
What I mean by traditional symbolism has to do with giving me away, as well as how I meet my fiance at the end of the aisle. You would think that in anticipation of an equal partnership that we would be walking down the aisle together, but we are not. I wanted to give us both a breather before we started our life together as a married couple, so I will be meeting him at the top of the aisle. I know that even though we will be doing a first look, I will be nervous and having a few minutes apart to breathe will (in theory) help calm our nerves and give us both time to reflect on what is to come. I have not been thinking about my wedding since I was small, but I know that since we got engaged, I have been firm on wanting to walk down an aisle. It's become a non-negotiable for me, much like my red shoes.
How I get down the aisle is going to be a little different, though I am noticing it's becoming more and more common based on what I've seen on wedding sites like Style Me Pretty. I am being walked down the aisle by both my mother and father. I know I could have done it alone, but it was another non-negotiable for me. I know that it can symbolize being given away, but for me it's another way to honor my family during my wedding, and another means by which I can calm my nerves before reciting my vows in front of a large group of friends and family!
Of course, once we've reached the top of the aisle, they will not be giving me away. This was something I found myself thinking about more than I anticipated when I started thinking about how our ceremony would look. I decided that I didn't want to be given away at the alter because I didn't want the appearance that I needed approval to marry The Boy. Our decision to get married is one that is supported by our families, yes, but it was our decision. The Boy didn't ask my father for my hand in marriage, and while my parents very much approve of The Boy, I didn't want to ask them to give me away to him. We haven't worked out the exact logistics of it yet, but I think that when we reach the top of the aisle and my groom, my mother will offer him a hug, my father will offer a handshake or a hug, and then they will go take their seats.
Much of this may seem naval-gazy, but it was important to me to think about how I wanted to portray the very start of our marriage - as equals - to our friends and family. I am an independent, indecisive woman, and while many of these choices may look like no-brainers, they took a lot of thought. There is a lot of tradition (or "tradition") surrounding marriage and weddings. We are entering into this union together, vowing to stick through it in thick and thin and to put work into our relationship. What better way to continue to do what we've been doing, and to start our marriage off the way we want, than to turn some tradition on its ear?